US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rescind the infamous Mexico City Policy, widely known as the 'global gag rule', which eliminated funding to international NGOs which counsel on, provide, or legally advocate for abortion. According to global health experts, however, the reversal of the policy will not automatically reverse the far-reaching damage it has done.
The policy was originally instituted by the Reagan administration in 1984, but the most restrictive version of the Mexico City Policy to date was put into place by US President Donald Trump. Biden's rescission of the policy within the first days of his presidency would follow the precedent set by Democratic presidents before him.
According to policy experts, there will still be a lot of work for the Biden administration to do after reversing the rule. It will take time to revise standards and contracts as well as to clarify the new spending rules to by now-wary foreign NGOs. Organizations will have to wait before they can hire more people, open more clinics, expand programs, and, in the case of large organizations, they have to wait until they bid on the next cycle of projects.
For those NGOs that decided to forego US funding rather than abide by the rule, the funding will take time to be restored. Some, like the International Planned Parenthood Federation or MSI Reproductive Choice, may not want to seek US funding again, knowing the disruptions to their services that can come with the rule's potential reinstatement in four or eight years with a new president, further destabilizing their operations.
The Trump administration still has time to further expand the Mexico City Policy (which it renamed 'Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy') in the coming months, which would require extra time and work for the Biden administration to reverse once Biden assumes office in January of 2021.
News article - Devex